Barbara Goldman's expertise in the field of education is evaluating students and academic programs.
Recently, Goldman's colleagues in the Academic Federation evaluated her — and deemed her worthy of the 2006 James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award. The federation presented the award at a dinner earlier this week.
"She is a model for the award, for what (former Chancellor) Jim Meyer stood for in terms of academic research and service," said Jim Grieshop, who works in community education development with the Department of Human and Community Development. He nominated Goldman for the award.
During an interview in her Academic Surge office, Goldman was quick to praise her federation colleagues, including lecturers in undergraduate courses, researchers, writing program teachers, Cooperative Extension specialists, academic administrators and academic coordinators — some 1,200 people in all.
"The federation makes a huge contribution to the UC Davis campus," she said.
Goldman is associate director of the teacher education program in the School of Education. She came to UC Davis 29 years ago as a lecturer and supervisor of teacher education, after earning a master's degree and doctorate from Cornell University.
Before that, she taught human development and psychology in a public high school in Philadelphia. Unhappy with the school's administration, she decided to go back to school to become an administrator herself.
"When you go to graduate school, it's a very windy path," she said, describing how she ended up being a teacher of teachers rather than a high school administrator.
At UC Davis, she taught undergraduates, master's degree students and teachers-in-training in the Department of Applied Behavioral Sciences, now called Human and Community Development, and in the education department, which became the education division and then the School of Education.
Today, she supervises the faculty in the teacher education program, and handles course planning and compliance reviews. Nearly 150 students are in the program this year, pursuing credentials to teach at the elementary or high school levels. The program also includes about 100 students who, after receiving their credentials in the one-year course of study, spend two additional quarters gaining master's degrees.
"It's my job to do the kinds of things needed to support my program, to get all the wrinkles ironed out," said Goldman, adding that the program aims to turn out teachers "who focus on each and every student as an individual, and who advocate for those students."
In much the same way, Goldman advocates for Academic Federation members, "trying to get a voice for faculty who are not Academic Senate members."
"That is the reason I became more and more involved, to make a contribution to solving some of the issues that Academic Federation members face, and to help the campus recognize the contributions that the Academic Federation makes."
She has been very involved in the issue of peer review, which she said is "still a work in progress."
"Our goal is to have informed personnel reviews," she said, meaning that the people doing the reviewing should have knowledge of the job involved.
Another issue, she said, is gaining equal access for Academic Federation members to the portion of research grant money that is deducted from extramural research awards. The deductions reimburse the university for its indirect costs.
"This small amount of grant money, to hone a laboratory technique or attend an important conference, may be just what is needed to assist them to be more competitive in future grant proposals," Goldman said.
She has had much success herself on the grant front. For example, the National Science Foundation awarded $1.5 million for a three-year program that teams math and science doctoral students with middle and high school teachers for training purposes. Goldman said the program, now in its last year, aims for a long-lasting effect — with the doctoral students, as the next generation of math and science faculty in higher education, committed to preparing future teachers for elementary and secondary classrooms.
Also, since 1997, the California Department of Education has funded the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program, to aid first- and second-year teachers in Yolo and Solano counties. Goldman represents UC Davis as the higher education partner in this work.
"Teachers must not only be able to plan and deliver instruction," Goldman said, "but they must be able to assess the results to make sure the curriculum is getting through."
The Academic Federation is getting results of its own, and her colleagues are grateful. "She is not only a valued asset to the federation but the entire university community," said Grieshop, who added that Goldman's receipt of the Meyer award was long overdue.